Lemon cake recipe

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serves: 12
Prep: 20 min
Cooking: 35 min

Nutrition per portion

Calories 540 kCal 27%
Fat 29g 41%
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  • Lemon cake is delicious, quick and easy to make and this lemon cake recipe is a real winner. Another great cake from Woman's Weekly.

    This delicious, quick and easy lemon cake recipe is a classic. Infused with fresh lemons, the cake is topped with a sweet lemon curd buttercream. Our lemon cake recipe serves 12 people and will take around 35 mins to bake, plus cooling and decorating time.

    Store any leftover lemon cake in an airtight container for up to 2 days or you can freeze this cake too without the lemon curd buttercream so if you’re making ahead for a bake sale or special occasion this cake is a great choice. This sponge cake recipe would work just as well with other citrus fruits too, so try orange or lime instead.

    Love baking cakes? We’ve got loads more delicious cake recipes including Mary Berry’s classic lemon drizzle cake!


    • 250g butter, softened
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 250g self-raising flour
    • 4 medium eggs
    • 2tbsp milk
    • Finely zested rind of 2 lemons
    • 4 level tbsp caster sugar
    • 4tbsp water
    • Juice 2 lemons
    • 3 level tbsp lemon curd
    • 125g unsalted butter, softened
    • 250g icing sugar
    • 4 level tbsp lemon curd
    • Pinch of salt
    • 2 x 18cm solid base sandwich tins, buttered and base-lined


    • Set the oven to 180°C. To make the cake: Beat the butter. Add the remaining ingredients to it and beat until smooth. Divide mixture between sandwich tins, and level surface.

    • Bake cakes in the centre of oven for 30-35 mins, or until they have risen and feel just firm to the touch in the centre.

    • Meanwhile, to make syrup: Pour 4tbsp water into a small pan; add sugar. Place pan on a low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring mixture to the boil; boil rapidly for 1 min, then remove pan from heat and add lemon juice.

    • When cakes are cooked, remove from oven and pour syrup over each one. Leave cakes in tins for about 10 minutes until syrup has soaked in, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    • Cut each cake in half horizontally, to give 4 layers in total. Sandwich together with 1tbsp lemon curd spread between each layer.

    • To make the frosting: Beat butter until very soft, then add remaining ingredients and beat well until fluffy. Spread over the top and sides of the cake.

    Top tip for making Lemon cake

    Freeze cake at the end of step 5. Allow the cake to defrost before filling and frosting.

    How to store lemon cake

    If you’ve got leftover lemon cake the best place to store it is on the kitchen counter in an airtight container. You may want to add a piece of kitchen towel into the box or cake tin to help balance out the moisture levels as the cake may sweat.

    You can also keep your lemon cake in the fridge but be aware that it may dry the cake out so it might only last a couple of days in there.

    Why does my lemon cake sink in the middle?

    If your lemon cake has sunk in the middle it may be down to a few different factors. Firstly, you need to make sure you don’t open the oven door when baking, you need to make sure you don’t over mix your lemon cake ingredients and that you don’t add too much baking powder or soda.

    If your cake has sunk and its not suitable for serving, there’s no need to waste it. Just break into crumbs, mix with buttercream and form cake pops!

    Why is my lemon cake dry?

    To make sure your lemon cake isn’t dry, you need to use the correct measurements when it comes to the dry ingredients. If you add too much flour or too much baking powder or soda it can really dry your cake out. When whisking your mixture, if it appears dry and isn’t loose and smooth, you may want to add some more lemon juice, a dash of milk or water to loosen the mixture.

    Make sure you don’t over bake your lemon cake. Over baking will not only dry your cake out but it will also make it burn slightly around the edges, especially as the cake contains lemon juice. Use our what's wrong with my cake? guide for more tips and tricks when it comes to baking.

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